Webster University introduced the Forensic Accounting graduate program five years ago. Today, students like Sean Ayres are graduating from the program, and landing incredible jobs. Sean was offered a job at Grant Thornton, one of the largest and fastest-growing audit, tax and advisory service providers in Chicago.
Sean’s college education began at Webster University when he pursued an undergraduate degree in Accounting. During that time, Sean got involved by participating in on-campus events and the Student Government Association as the Secretary. He also noted learning some valuable communication skills as an undergraduate as a bartender at Llewelyn’s.
In the classroom, Sean enjoyed his time in the auditing course with Professor Rich Dipple. Dipple soon became his mentor, and the combination of advice, natural skill, and interest in the subject led his to pursuit of a MS in Forensic Accounting.
Dipple is very proud of his student and described him as someone who is sharp and has perseverance. Dipple is very proud to see how Sean has moved ahead but not surprised, saying, “[Sean] stuck to it and always had a mature approach.”
Sean valued his time at Webster University. While he did not study abroad, he said the global perspective he gained from getting to know international students and their culture in conjunction with the campus culture enriched his college experience. Sean is appreciative of his liberal arts degree, it helped his ability to critically think and he says, “Webster was a place where people could be themselves.”
Sean will now have the opportunity to travel with his new job. Since he gained an international perspective at Webster University, the anxiety of international travel is shed and he could not be more excited for the new experience.
Finally, Sean’s advice to students is to talk to professors and get to know them; they are valuable resources. He encourages students to take advantage of the opportunities available at the University in order to reach full success, saying that his experiences are proof of that.
Sean now resides in Chicago with his wife and their dog. Sean is working alongside a group of Webster University alum in the beginning process of making an official Webster University Alumni Association Chicago Chapter. He’s is excited about the potential of the network for future and former students.
The Walker School extends a congratulations to Sean. We are proud to call him an alumni and wish him the best in his future.
Dr. Lasanthi Gamage joined the Walker School of Business and Technology this fall in the Computer Science and Mathematics department where she teaches classes in both subjects.
Dr. Gamage grew up in Sri Lanka and decided from a young age that she wanted to pursue computer engineering. College education is free in her home country, therefore Universities are very selective. She successfully passed the exam for admittance at one of the best colleges in Sri Lanka at the age of 18. Thankfully she excelled in her chosen subject because if she had not, she said, “there would have been no way to go back.”
Immediately after graduation, Dr. Gamage spent six months in the industry followed by six months when she returned to academia as a lecturer until she decided to study again herself. This is when she made the move to the United States. Up until this point, she had never traveled outside her Sri Lanka.
Again, success followed Dr. Gamage at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota for her masters, and then at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla for her PhD. Dr. Gamage enjoys her time in the U.S. and after 9 years of residence here, she considers it a home. She compliments the U.S.’s infrastructure and respects the freedom to make personal decisions. However, she says the food in the U.S. just can’t top the food from her home.
Dr. Gamage plans to visit Sri Lanka, so she can see her extended family again, but has been busy starting a family here. Her husband is also a professor who teaches at the Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville and they have two sons and one daughter on the way.
Dr. Gamage says she is dedicated to her family, but also wants to continue research at the Walker School. She plans to expand upon her PhD research in Data Management by focusing on vehicle information that makes life easier by providing intensive traffic information. She also wants to expand her research to include big data in social media with goals to make it safer. Social media gathers a lot of information and she seeks to send some of that information back to users. To make social media even safer, she wants to locate fake accounts so she can prevent them from causing harm. She has ambitions to start researching more as a department and finding ways to include students in that research.
Finally, Dr. Gamage says she greatly appreciates the global focus of Webster University. She looks forward to the opportunity to teach at one of the campuses abroad so she can experience more of the world. The Walker School is happy to have Dr. Gamage as a faculty member and look forward to her contribution to students.
Next month, I will be leaving my corporate job at Amazon to work for the nonprofit organization, International Justice Mission, where I will be a Business Development/HR Fellow (neat fact: I will be their first Business Development/HR fellow in Mumbai, and they essentially added that position in the Mumbai office for me.) I will move to Mumbai in January 2017.
IJM (www.ijm.org) is a global human rights organization that protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world by rescuing victims, bringing the criminals to justice, restoring survivors to safety and strength, and helping local law enforcement build a safe future that lasts. I’ve always wondered how I could combine my heart for helping the marginalized internationally with my passion for business/HR, and this is the perfect opportunity to do just that. I am so excited! You can find out more details on my YouCaring page: www.youcaring.com/mumbaionmymind, and I am happy to answer any other questions you have or provide you with additional information!
At IJM, I will be serving as a Pro Bono Business Consultant in Mumbai and as such will provide expertise in writing and editing reports, organizing and tracking progress of ongoing projects and managing department databases and files. I will assist in the development of protocols, procedures and best practices, and help organize, administer and document ongoing department trainings.
John Baker, Baseball Operations Assistant for the Chicago Cubs will be at The Walker School talking about balancing academics and sports and answering questions for students. All are welcome.
Baker also continues to work with the Chicago Cubs acting as an assistant of baseball operations. His job includes working with Cubs minor leaguers on the fundamental skills needed to be a good personal and professional player. He also works with the major league players on health and wellness, including meditation, yoga, and pilates.
Megan Price was born and raised in Joplin, Missouri. She graduated with honors from McAuley High School and her most memorable role was leading the Future Business Leaders of America and competing in it at the state level. Price is pursuing an undergraduate degree at Webster University as a junior studying Marketing with minors in Economics and History. She spent a semester abroad in Vienna, Austria where she competed in Model United Nations Conferences and traveled the continent.
Price is the President of Webster University College Democrats and Vice President of Student Ambassadors to the President’s Office. She enjoys her student employment in The Walker School as a programs and recruiting assistant by expanding and promoting opportunities to Walker Students. She has completed internships at the National Children’s’ Cancer Society and Maritz Motivation Solutions and currently does social media management for a local law firm. Price believes it is important for all students to apply what they have learned at Webster University to an internship as well as gain knowledge of out-of-the classroom skills. Price has participated in the Walker Edge program since her freshman year, including taking the WSBT 2000 Career Exploration for Professional Success course and attributes a lot of her professional development to the program.
Megan has grown to love St. Louis for its culture, community, and spirit, and plans to begin her career here.
Shikha Ralleigh hails from New Delhi, India. The capital city is known for its rich diverse culture, highly active lifestyle, and 18 million population recorded this year. She received her undergraduate degree in Mass Communication while in New Delhi.
Ralleigh is currently a graduate student at Webster University pursuing her MA in Information Technology Management. In the past, she has worked with globally renowned advertising firms, spearheading strategic communication for brands like Nestle, Pizza Hut, Samsung TV, and Yamaha Bikes. She has more than eight years of experience in managing key projects involving celebrities and providing solutions to marketing problems for the businesses she handled. She has carved a successful path managing integrated campaigns, and some of the aforementioned brands were able to win a few awards on the campaigns and saw the brand health metrics and business KPIs improve positively.
Apart from being a graduate student at Webster University, she works as a graduate assistant in the International Programs & Initiatives Department where she helps in developing degree plans for partner institutions, and does research to bring ideas to the collaboration. She also represents the International Student Association (ISA) as the President on campus. She is one of the members in Webster Dining Advisory Board where she brings student’s issues to the table. Campus involvements gave her a chance to exhibit her leadership skills by organizing events, programs and by providing strategic solutions to students. Last but not the least, she has initiated social media communities on Facebook to help and connect International Students with Housing, Swap n Sell, generic discussions etc., and she is also the curator of Humans of WebsterU Facebook Page.
Shikha and Megan look forward to contributing a student voice to the Walker School dean selection that will take place in the spring. The student perspective is important when selecting a new leader and ensuring that the candidates know the interest of the students is the most important role of a dean.
They intend to provide a voice for students and bring their concerns to Student Government and beyond. Finally, they look forward to being able to improve students’ time at Webster University.
They will have open office hours 10am on every 2nd Wednesdays of the month or you can contact them by email.
Hu knew he wanted to be a teacher from a young age, but originally studied Electronics and Engineering. When he began performing well in courses geared towards computer science, he made the decision to pursue a PhD in the field.
Hu considers technology to be growing at a rapid, unpredictable pace, and stresses the importance of studying the human sciences. He believes, “we should consider human factors more than equations” and “have experience in human science so we can know humanity better.” Hu’s thoughts align well with the liberal arts emphasis and global view of the Global Citizenship Program. He is a strong supporter of the study abroad opportunities at Webster University and says, “if students have the opportunity, they certainly should study in another country. It’s not just to study some courses, it’s to observe the culture of another country.”
Hu is excited to further his research in the interactions between humans and computers at the Walker School. He looks forward to teaching the art of computer science to students and then work alongside them to further his understanding of the human factors of the field.
The department of Math and Computer Science had another wonderful Annual ACM Regional Programming Contest today. This year, there was an overwhelmingly large group of participants. Six different universities of around 40 contestants with their coaches participated at the Webster University site of the Mid-Central US Region.
Professor Brenda Boyce organized the day with assistance from Professor Lasanthi Gamage and Professor Kaoning Hu. Around twenty student volunteers worked on various tasks under close supervision of Professor Boyce for a flawless event.
Webster had two teams participating: Gorlok1 (Joshua Gerber, Matthew Schupack and Elie Regev) and Gorlok2 (Seth Marek, Austin LaBerta, Georgy Sinitsyn), both coached . More than 150 teams of 450 students in total participated in the Mid-Central region, including University of Chicago, Washington University at Saint Louis, Northwestern University and many others, the Webster University teams again placed in the upper tier. One of Webster University’s teams, Gorlok1, placed 34th in the Region.
According to Dr. Suo, “The problem sets this year were very challenging, and yet, one of our teams, Gorlok1, was able to solve some of the hardest problems. They were also the among the fastest in the region to solve two of the problems. I am very proud of my students’ accomplishments. ”
A detailed ranking information can be found here:
Last year, the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest made significant changes with all regional contests being judged online. This requires bullet-proof system testings and proxy server configurations. Professor Boyce and Professor Suo worked with the Webster Desktop, Media, Network Technology Services for months to resolve various issues in preparation for a successful contest.
Overall, it was an enjoyable event and the Walker School looks forward to hosting it again in the future!
The department of Math and Computer Science is hosting the Annual ACM (American Computing Machinery) Competition this Saturday (November 5th). The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) is a multi-tier, team-based, programming competition operating under the auspices of ACM. The contest involves a global network of universities hosting regional competitions that advance teams to the ACM-ICPC World Finals.
Participation has grown to several tens of thousands of the finest students and faculty in computing disciplines at almost 2,736 universities from over 102 countries on six continents. The contest fosters creativity, teamwork, and innovation in building new software programs, and enables students to test their ability to perform under pressure. Quite simply, it is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious programming contest in the world.
Webster University has been one of the hosts to this event for 13 years. Two teams of six students from Webster University will be participating this year at the regional level. We expect good outcomes from the Gorloks!
This year, the Walker School of Business and Technology welcomes a new faculty member that truly embodies the Webster University mission and values: Dr. Jim Curtis.
Dr. Curtis is an assistant professor of Cybersecurity and Computer Science. He has lifetime career experience in the Cybersecurity industry at the federal and private levels. He had been teaching courses as an adjunct professor until the opportunity arose to dedicate his career fully to educating.
Curtis grew up in Gilman, Illinois, and studied at Texas State University and the University of Oklahoma. As a young man, Curtis considered an occupation as a history professor. This was inspired by one of the most influential figures in his life, Abraham Lincoln. Despite forgoing that path, he was later able to be a part of American history himself by serving in the Air Force. Curtis dedicated 25 years of service to our country in the Air Force, including a tour in the White House as a communications officer for President Bush (41) and Clinton.
Curtis describes the job of a White House communications officer as one that took him “all over the world,” where he was a part of many historical moments. Some of the moments that stand out to him include: having dinner in the Queen’s Throne Room in Buckingham Palace, riding in Air Force One, viewing the signing of the START II nuclear treaty by President Bush and President Gorbachev in the Kremlin, witnessing Clinton nominate Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Supreme Court, and Michael Jackson singing at Clinton’s Inauguration. His military experience includes spending 2,000 hours in EC-135 “Looking Glass” aircraft and serving in the Gulf War.
After retiring from the Air Force, Curtis worked in private industry at A.G. Edwards until the events of 9/11. At that point, he decided he wanted to serve the country again. He then worked on government defense contracts at SRA International as a Vice President until transitioning to full-time teaching.
His experiences have given him the ability to integrate real cybersecurity experiences and scenarios into his curriculum. He is enthusiastic about the importance of the program and its high career projections. Curtis believes that academia is a crucial component to private and public partnerships to unite for the common goal of cybersecurity in America.
His career experiences and global perspectives will greatly enhance the program and have a lasting benefit to students. We are very fortunate to welcome such a valuable asset to the Walker School family.